My lawyer friend, Bhadarul Baharain bin Sulaiman wrote a Letter to Editors of The Star and NSTP to respond to the idiotic remark by Tan Sri Idris Jala but was not published.
I am neither comfortable addressing him as Tan Sri Idris Jala (and will prefer to call him as Butcher from Shell or Butcher). Nor am I comfortable with Butcher given the task of cutting the national deficit.
When he was at MAS, Butcher had a habit of identifying the wrong problem, thus deriving the simplistic wrong and generic turnaround plan, and finally manipulate figures to lie the true failed results. In four years, MAS lost its domestic, Asean and China businesses and capacity to be a major player in the Airline industry. That is not all.
Returning back to Bhadarul's letter, The Star and NSTP censured his letter. Luckily, Butcher does not instill fear in The Malay Mail Editor because the letter got published today. The letter below:
The economy: Time for subsidy withdrawal symptoms?
Only if govt shows how savings benefit rakyat
I AWOKE this morning (May 28) to the misfortune of having to read the headlines of two local English dailies of impending doom for Malaysia as a result of the manner in which our economy is structured, that being the various subsidies which, since gaining our independence, has been a pillar of the economy and magnanimously and benevolently extended to the rakyat by the government.
Malaysia is truly a blessed country. We are a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural country. We coexist in peace. We have various natural resources and fairly good infrastructure.
We can also be very proud of the various government-linked corporations that the Federal government has established or incorporated. Petronas, our national oil company, and Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), our national electricity company, are fine examples, and the list goes on.
I am just an average individual who works to earn a living and I have benefited from the magnanimity and benevolence of the government. As such, I cannot help but wonder how such gestures by the government these past decades can be the cause of impending economic doom for Malaysia. Truly amazing!
Only recently, it was announced by the government and published in the newspapers that our growth rate in the first quarter of 2010 was at a 10.1 per cent. What a really fantastic growth percentage for Malaysia. And all this while, other countries worldwide are posting somewhat significantly lower growth rates.
After all, Petronas has consistently posted huge and enormous profits since its incorporation. TNB, with its monopoly in the distribution of electricity in peninsular Malaysia, also continues to record profits. And yet, the government now has plans to remove most subsidies which the rakyat enjoy. I really wonder why. And now because of the various subsidies, Malaysia may be faced with impending economic doom.
Are we not a country having some reserves of a sweet and light crude oil which sells at premium prices? Is Malaysia not a net exporter of crude oil when compared to our neighbouring ASEAN countries with Brunei being the exception?
Why does the government compare our petrol prices with that of Somalia, Singapore, Thailand, developed countries around the world and other countries which are net importers of petroleum? Why is there no comparison being made with net exporting countries? Any comparison must be on an apple-to-apple basis.
During the past 15 to 18 months, issues relating to the profits recorded by Petronas have been raised by various parties. By removing the subsidies for petroleum and diesel, there will inevitably be price increases for most goods and services. How then will the government extend the benefit of the profits of Petronas to the rakyat?
It appears, to me at least, that the government, whether knowingly or not, keeps going back, again and again to tax the rakyat. I am quite sure that most individuals would not mind having to pay a bit extra for better services and conveniences. But how can the government expect the rakyat to pay any additional amounts when services and conveniences are substandard, well below par and not up to the rakyat’s expectations?
The Lembaga Letrik Negara (LLN) or Central Electricity Board (CEB), as TNB was previously known, served social purposes as well. Included in the LLN budgets previously, were amounts for the expansion of infrastructure into the rural areas. These days, TNB talks not merely of profits but economic profits. When an entity has a monopoly, there should not be talk of profits, much less economic profits.
It is easy to talk about raising tariffs to justify profits, making TNB seemingly a good investment for fund managers, but what about the rakyat? If TNB did not have a monopoly, by all means, increase the tariffs and let the rakyat choose which service provider they want. Level the playing field first!
These are the types of arguments and contentions which give rise to further questions. What will happen to all the monies which will be made available as a result of the withdrawal of the various subsidies? We have all been told and have heard of the responses from the government that such monies will be utilised or have been used for projects which will benefit the rakyat.
I would be most grateful if the government could provide details of such projects and please do not omit pertinent information, such as specifications and relevant costs involved. Most development projects can be calculated on a per square meter basis.
I am not against the proposal to withdraw the various subsidies. However, the government should and must produce more detailed proposals with regard to the usage of all monies that the government will purportedly save from withdrawing of the various subsidies.
Please remember what Abraham Lincoln said: “You can fool some of the people all the time, all the people some of the time but you can’t fool all the people all the time.”
Bhadarul Baharain Sulaiman
Petaling Jaya, Selangor
As a Minister, Butcher cannot afford to shoot his mouth at will even though he is not a politician. It is because his words would have political implication. He works amongst politicians and his bosses are politicians too!
Incidently, Butcher's remark duplicate exactly what was spinned by Lim Kit Siang in their campaign in Sibu as though Malaysia is going the path of Greece. Tony Puah had recently mention in one of his political statements that the national debt is RM360 billion.
Did non-political Butcher leaked this information to DAP since he is known to be cordial and have celebrated Christmas with them last year?
What made Butcher think he can simply shoot his mouth at will? He didn't shoot his mouth at will when he was MAS CEO. He even tried to cover-up operating losses by claiming MAS made profit but it was only for oil arbitrage revaluation.
Back then, he knew market would panic and his MAS shares would plummet. But now he doesn't care if his remarks based on a worst case senario would make the rakyat panic. Butcher only care that the rakyat is swayed to support him through his misleading survey in the way Nor Yakcop supported his MAS turnaround plan even though both are blurred.
Does Butcher he realised that by instilling fear of price hike and bankruptcy, he can cause financial panic too? Retailers and shopkeeper would raise prices ahead price hike announcements.
When Pak Lah raised petrol by 78 sen, it cost his premiership. The public totally lost confidence with Pak Lah. By announcing at will price hikes of many goods, is Butcher trying to ouster Najib by making public lose confidence with his financial management ability? Is Butcher sabotaging Barisan Nasional?
What more with Butcher's statement of bankrupt by 2019 had several weakness.
One glaring weakness highlighted by Jebat Must Die is that he assumed debt is compoundable annually at 12% p.a.
How could Malaysia possibly get into get a Greek crisis with positive GDP growth, balance of payments, billions in revenue, low inflation, payments on borrowed loans, and budgetary deficit of 5.6%? Malaysia is not in the same situation as Greece.
How could cutting subsidy help improve conditions? Many are getting confused with such idiotic statements by Ministers.
Does Butcher understand Government deficit financing differs than that of corporation? Government can easily issue Government Bonds in this highly liquid domestic banking system.
Does Butcher understand that cutting subsidies at free will is not in tandem with the "rakyat diutamakan" slogan? Does he not have concern for his Kelabit folks in Sarawak suffering of low income and rising prices?
How could Government cut subsidies and cause rises in prices when the high income model of New Economic Model failed to get endorsement of Majlis Perundingan Melayu?
This makes this blogger sick with such Ministers shooting their mouth without understanding the implication of their statements. Can PM send this incompetent Butcher back to Shell?